Alexa and Echo devices are coming to hotels thanks to Alexa for Hospitality

Amazon has announced service that helps hotels, vacation rentals, and other locations deploy Alexa and Echo devices at scale. Alexa for Hospitality allows the voice assistant to be customized for each location. Guests will be able to ask for things like hotel information, order room service, request housekeeping, and control smart devices like lights and thermostats. It also appears as though there will be a way for guests to temporarily login to their hotel room’s Alexa device in order to access their music, make phone calls, and other personal Alexa functions. Select Marriott Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, Aloft Hotels, and Autograph Collection Hotels are already on board and will deploy Alexa devices starting this summer.

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Alexa and Echo devices coming to Spain and Italy later this year

Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and Echo devices are continuing their global expansion. The lineup just debuted in France earlier this month, and now Amazon has announced that Spain and Italy are the next countries to get Alexa and Echo devices. Alexa’s arrival in Spain is significant because it means Alexa will speak Spanish for the first time, which is among the most popular languages in the world. Amazon is opening Alexa to developers in Spain and Italy now and will release the voice assistant and devices in those countries later this year. With the addition of Spain and Italy, Alexa will be available in 12 countries, which include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, the UK, and the US.

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MrMC v3.6 update includes the Plex add-on with more add-ons coming soon

The media center app MrMC has recently been updated to version 3.6 and with the update comes the return of add-on support. It’s still not possible for users to install their own add-ons in MrMC, but the app’s developers will be adding highly requested add-ons to the app. The first add-on being added is the official Plex add-on. Selectively allowing add-ons in this manner is the only way for MrMC to remain in the Amazon appstore. Read more ›

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Certified Refurbished 2nd-Gen Fire TV is coming back in stock

The Certified Refurbished 2nd-Gen Fire TV will be back in stock next week and is once again available to order now. Ever since the Fire TV 3 was released, availability of the refurbished Fire TV 2 has been sporadic and very limited. The product listing currently says it will be in stock on June 25th and it’s possible to place an order now to secure one. This might be one of the last chances to buy a Fire TV 2 directly from Amazon, so if you were in the market for a new Fire TV but decided that the Fire TV Cube was not for you, then you might want to snag a Fire TV 2 while you still can. Read more ›

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Amazon reduces the list price of the Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Voyage by 25% — Update: Not permanent

Amazon has reduced the price of the Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Voyage by 25%. What’s interesting is that this doesn’t appear to be a sale, since it’s the list price that has been adjusted, so it appears as though these are the new everyday prices for these two e-readers. This morning, the Kindle Paperwhite has dropped from a list price of $119.99 to $89.99 and the Kindle Voyage has dropped from a list price of $199.99 to $149.99. Both of those new prices match the lowest that these Kindle models have ever been, so if the discount is just a regular sale, it’s a pretty good one. Read more ›

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New Fire TV apps of the week — June 10-16

This week there were 77 new apps and games released for the Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Edition televisions. Gray Television, which runs several dozen local news networks across the United States has released over 50 apps this week for their various networks. Most, if not all, of them have live streams and on demand content so take a look to see if your local news channels are among the ones made available. If you’re a VPN user, take a look at NordVPN’s new app to see if it’s a good fit for your needs. Continue on for the full list of new apps and games released in the last 7 days. Read more ›

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Amazon Prime Visa and Prime Store Card holders get 10% Cashback on Echo devices and Fire tablets

Amazon just started a new promotion that gives 10% Cashback on select Alexa devices when you use either an Amazon Prime Visa or an Amazon Prime Store Card to pay for the purchase. These cards normally give 5% cashback, so this promotion adds an additional 5% savings. Eligible Alexa devices are listed here and include all of the Echo devices and the non-kids Fire tablets. Fire TV devices and third-party Alexa hardware are not included in this promotion. Since most of the eligible devices are already on sale right now, this is a pretty good opportunity to get some great deals. This 10% cashback promotion ends June 25th, but the sale prices will likely end this weekend.

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Most of Amazon’s devices and accessories are still on sale — Some are at new all-time lows

Amazon is currently having a Father’s Day Sale on most of their devices, including Fire TVs, Echos, Tablets, and more. Several of their accessories are on sale as well. Unlike past sales when most devices get discounted all at once, this one actually has some prices that are new all-time lows. An example is the Echo + Echo Dot bundle for $99.98, which has never been this low in the past. Even the Fire TV Game Controller, which hasn’t been on sale since 2016, is currently discounted at a new all-time low price of $34.99. Here is the full list of Amazon devices and accessories currently on sale. This sale is expected to end Saturday (tomorrow) at midnight. Read more ›

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How to watch YouTube TV on an Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick

Due to the ongoing spat between Amazon and Google, it’s unlikely that YouTube TV will officially be available on Amazon Fire TV devices anytime soon. Note that I’m referring to the YouTube TV paid subscription cable service, not regular YouTube, the free video sharing site, which is still and has always been accessible on Fire TV devices. Fire TV owners who are subscribed to Google’s over-the-top streaming subscription service have tried sideloading the official YouTube TV app, taken from Android TV devices, onto their Fire TV devices but haven’t had luck getting it to work. Now, an unofficial YouTube TV app, made by an independent third-party developer, has appeared that works on Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks. Here’s how to install and configure the app. Read more ›

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Alexa usage on Amazon Fire TVs has increased considerably

With the announcement of the new Fire TV Cube, Amazon is making Alexa a bigger part of their streaming media hardware than ever. That decision is likely influenced by the fact that Fire TV owners are using Alexa more than ever. VP of Fire TV product development Sandeep Gupta said, at the TV of Tomorrow Show in San Francisco on Wednesday, that Alexa usage on Fire TV devices increased by 23x during the 2017 holiday quarter when compared to the same three months in 2016, according to Variety. Amazon says that Alexa was queried close to half a billion times by Fire TV users in 2017. More recently, hours spent using Alexa on Fire TV devices nearly doubled over the past 9 months. As Alexa becomes more useful with new capabilities, those figures are sure to continue increasing.

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